Back Where I Started

“You shouldn’t have to bury your children,” she said as we filed through with our simulated sorrow. When staring at your daughter’s coffin you really don’t care how everyone else feels.

“It’s malignant,” he said as we shuffled in the recovery room with our petrified encouragement. When cancer mounts a cerebral revolution you really don’t care what bothered you yesterday.

This week began with a funeral and ended with a brain tumor. And once again I was faced with the inevitable questions that accompany grief and confusion. And once again I was faced with my own depravity and how deep the gospel still has to drill in my sin-sick soul.

How quickly I let the question take root: “Why would God let this happen?” But where was that question yesterday when God kept the air conditioning running in my truck? Why didn’t I ask that question when instead of the tornado hitting my house it touched down in a field? Where was all my inquisitiveness when my wife taught my daughter to say “Bible”? Where was all my eagerness for answers when God encouraged me through a recent sermon? Where was my demand for explanations when my last breath wasn’t my last breath? My silence is fruit of a hidden, unmentioned, but very real sense of entitlement. God owes me good things, but must explain himself when bad things happen. In some sense, Job was married to all of us (Job 1.9-10).

You see, Christians get lulled into the secular mentality that death and disease are suprising events. Yet, according to the gospel, the suprising event is life! Why would God willfully and joyfully endure the bold-faced rebellion of so many every day? Why would he let me enjoy music, sunsets, petunias, medicine and police officers knowing I would not thank him for them? Why would God grant Christian parents who didn’t abort or abandon me? Why didn’t I get what I deserved at my conception? The real question is, “Why didn’t God let this happen before now?”

I wonder if I’ve ever worshiped before. There are many folks who have far less reason to worship who worship for reasons far too lofty for me to comprehend. Perhaps I’m just not ready to handle what that means. Only grace can help me.

3 thoughts on “Back Where I Started

  1. No doubt the greatest entry to date. Oh, the “already not yet” tension. As Thomas once said,”let us also go that we may die with him” (Lazarus)
    It must take even greater faith to die with joy and to yern for that day. The world is to much in me and I in it.

  2. Barry,

    You raise some excellent issues in this post, things like the sovereignty of God, the question of suffering, and the priority of worship in light of those things. My wife and I have personally walked through this dark valley. Our nine year old son passed away last July following a struggle with a brain tumor for more than six years.

    We watched him deal with blindness, strokes, and many other complications from the tumor. Yet he was full of love for others and never complained about his own problems. There is great comfort for us in knowing that his blindness ended when the first face he saw in years was that of Jesus.

  3. Thank you, Steve, for your transparency. It’s one thing to ask the questions in 3rd person, but you are much more qualified to answer them from the 1st. I pray your temporal pain blossoms continually into eternal peace. Your son now has the answers that this earth could not provide him. Soli Deo Gloria!

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